Imagine this scenario. You’re a mother of three children. You arrive home from the grocery store, pull into the garage, shut the garage door behind you, hit the off button on your keyless ignition (you think), unload the kids and groceries, and head inside. Nothing to be afraid of there, right?
Well, what if your child’s room or play area is near the entrance to the garage access door? And what if you didn’t push the off-key on your keyless ignition hard enough, or you forgot since you’re not really used to using a key FAB?
Why are Keyless Ignitions Dangerous?
This scenario happens more often than one would think and it is caused by a combination of factors. Key FAB’s play a role in starting a vehicle with a keyless ignition; they must be in close enough proximity to the vehicle in order for it to start. However, most keyless ignitions do not shut off just because the driver walks away from the vehicle. Another factor is human behavior. For the average 35-year-old mother, almost all her 20 years of driving have involved the use of a key, which requires inserting into and removing from the ignition. After 20 years, this behavior is habitual and thus should be considered by automobile manufacturers when designing their vehicles. Another factor is the increased quietness of vehicles. An ongoing battle exists between auto manufacturers to produce the “quietest” car. We see it advertised as a vehicle attribute in car commercials every day.
The results of scenarios such as those described above are alarming. According to kidsandcars.org, over 21 children died from carbon monoxide poising caused by keyless ignition vehicles. And, over 48 children were poisoned from keyless ignition vehicles last year.
Preventing these fatalities and deaths is relatively simple. An automatic shutoff device could be installed by manufacturers for quite low costs. The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration have already began warning consumers and manufacturers through their website safercar.gov.
Some manufacturers claim that they are working to prevent the problem by installing warning chimes that ding when your car doors are open. But does this really address the problem? Haven’t cars chimed for years when their doors were left open or lights left on? Many human factors experts would testify that over time our minds have become immune to warnings such as door chimes and that the safest poison preventing device would be an automatic cut-off switch.
If you currently own an automobile that has a keyless ignition or FAB and you want to take precaution, consider installing carbon monoxide detectors around the house and especially near the garage entrance door.
Automobile manufacturers are already facing several lawsuits over the dangers of keyless ignitions and more are certainly on their way.
If you have any questions about the safety or legality of automatic ignitions or key FAB’s, feel free to give us a call. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a keyless ignition or key FAB, contact a Fort Worth Products Liability Lawyer at Hutchison & Stoy, PLLC today for a free initial consultation. You can reach us at the office at (817)820-0100 or fill out a free case evaluation online.